For those experiencing WiFi issues, you may want to check out Open-Mesh
products. I'm in no way affiliated with them but their simplicity and reliability is better than anything out there. I too (like many people) opted for the AP + bridges around the house model but there were always quirks; e.g. bridge X would lock up requiring a hard power cycle, throughput would drop to next to nothing after days of run time, TiVo would randomly disconnect, etc. To give you a virtual picture of my network, this is what I have:
Note the "g" next to 2 of the nodes. These are "gateway" nodes which simply mean they have hard wired uplinks to my LAN. The "tivo-bridge" node is a stand-alone wifi bridge. The numbers in each direction denote the RSSI (signal strength). There are two numbers on each link as each node reports the signal. Living Room-> TiVo is maybe 10ft but through a nasty wall, Living Room->Office is about 30ft between 2 walls, and Living Room->Office is about 40ft between 3 walls.
Since these are mesh nodes, they provide a few advantages typical wireless gear does not such as:
- automatic gateway selection
- for nodes with no wired uplink; autodiscovery of configured neighbors and failover to the closest neighbor if one node goes offline
- link role discovery; I did not assign those nodes as "gateway" nodes, it was decided by the AP based on the fact that it could DHCP and connect to the internet on a wired port
- similar to above, each node has 2 wired ports; you can use one for uplink, one for a LAN device (one is effectively a gateway/uplink port, the other a bridge port), or both wired ports as bridge ports (how the node "tivo-bridge" behaves, it has a TiVo mini and AppleTV connected)
Anyway, I can't tell the difference between using this wireless setup and wired/MoCA. The worth thing I've had happen while watching a show is see the main AP (closest to TiVo) die/reboot. This will send you back to the home screen but by the time you re-start your show it's failed over to the other AP.
Nodes are managed by the Cloudtrax
dashboard. Not totally feature rich but good enough for the basics. I recommend:
* SSID #1: Hide (this SSID acts as a NAT + captive portal, so unless you want the box to do NAT and connect it to your upstream internet connection turn it off)
* SSID #2: Typically used for bridge mode (what you'll want if you want to extend your LAN). Under the SSID #2 tab, check "Enabled", "Bridge", and "Wired Clients"... assign your network name, password, etc. and save.
* Advanced: I usually check "Block Alien Nodes", "NG Firmware", and "Test Firmware" (if feeling brave).
From there your network will configure and mange itself. The only thing you need to do is go back to the "General" tab and click "Add/Edit Nodes".. find your location on the map and each time you left click it will pop up with a dialog asking for Name, MAC, and Description. Only MAC is required; this is what tells nodes in your mesh who to allow on and who to block. The first node you connect must be wired, but from there on out the nodes are smart enough that you can take a factory fresh node and so long as it's within range of another node AND the MAC is in your Network config it will auto-join, get the latest firmware, and get your network config; couldn't be easier.
Remember it's best to wire as many nodes as possible, each wireless "hop" cuts the bandwidth in half. Overall great products.. they need something in the 5Ghz band with N or AC (I've heard i's coming) but the 2.4Ghz models perform great in this application. Note that the only model I've used (and recommend) is the OM2P-HS (2x2 MIMO for $75). The other two models are single stream. Even though they have a model with external antenna claiming "best range", the OM2P-HS range is pretty insane; I can get working signal 1/2 block down the street from my house (you can turn the radio power down if you like but I live in a rural area).
The enclosures are also quite clever, especially the "Indoor Wallplug Enclosure".. if you have an outlet to give up i's easy to hide. Prices are fair and their gear is great. The dashboard software is free to use, but if you decide you hate it and want a traditional AP you can flash OpenWRT onto the hardware if you desire.
Anyway, check them out, everything works great with TiVo... they have some videos on their site but information is a bit sparse. If there are any questions I'm more than happy to answer.